If you’re a business professional seeking a new career then wholesale distribution has a wealth of opportunities that may fit the bill. If you’re looking to start your own business, a wholesale distribution business is relatively easy to open: it doesn’t require you to purchase or maintain inventory, has low start-up fees, and offers the flexibility to work from virtually anywhere.
Simply put, a wholesale distributor buys large quantities of physical goods directly from the goods manufacturer, at a relatively low price, then resells it to businesses– typically retail customers – at a higher price.
A huge market
Hundreds of new wholesale distribution businesses are started every year. In North America alone, there are more than 300,000 wholesale distribution businesses that together top a whopping 3.2 trillion USD in annual revenues. A huge market with lots of employment opportunities, spanning sales, marketing, finance, logistics, and IT.
- Sales: Those in the field recommend having a background in sales. It’s by no means a natural skill to be able to “talk the talk and walk the walk” of a trained salesperson. The power of persuasion is an art, and is key to wholesale distribution success.
- Operational Management: In addition to sales skills, operational management skills are highly useful in wholesale distribution. When running your own wholesale e-commerce business, you’ll need to manage your finances, manage distribution channels, customer service, marketing, and more. . Whether on your own or with a team, these tasks must be catered for.
Starting your own business
- Once you’ve committed to starting your own wholesale distribution business, the first thing you must do is obtain a reseller’s license. Depending on where you live most places require some type of license or permit before beginning to sell merchandise. Do your research ahead of time to find out if there are any fees or additional taxes you’ll have to incur because rules and regulations change by country and state.
- After you’re fully registered your business, it’s time to carefully choose a distributor that will provide your wholesale goods for a reasonable price. The distributor is responsible for moving the merchandise from the manufacturer to the retailer. Note that it is not uncommon for manufacturers to have their own distribution network. All of the logistics from order placement, to shipping are all run through the distributor so it’s important they’re trustworthy. When selecting your distributor, make sure to compare rates and don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping, handling, and all other overhead fees. You will want to calculate your expected net margins ahead of time to ensure that the financial returns from your business are sound.
- Next, you need to build a marketing presence so your customers can reach you and find out about your business. Creating a website is the easiest and best way to reach your customers and for them to easily find you. You can also decide to sell your products through an online store, by showcasing your products via an electronic catalog, and enabling your B2B customers to order directly. Focus on search engine marketing (SEM) to make sure the website is visible for relevant users.
- Finally, once you’ve launched your website with your products beautifully showcased – ideally with =inventory levels for what’s available -- you can launch your outbound marketing efforts. You can work with an outside marketing agency to build marketing campaigns. You may start small with friends and family and rely on word of mouth and social media activity on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to engage potential customers. The more places you advertise, the more opportunities you’ve created for people to visit your online store.
Wholesale distribution is a growing field with a sea of opportunities. The need and desire of young professionals to work from home is on the rise and wholesale distribution opportunities are becoming increasingly appealing. Business acumen and a strong drive are all that’s need to start the journey.